Fenland Gamers April 16 Meetup

Last night saw the monthly meetup of the Fenland Gamers.

Our first game of the evening was the latest “accidental” addition to Jonathan's collection, the chilli growing themed game Scoville.

Wow is the game good, and I'm not just saying this because I won. Ok won is an understatement I knocked it out the park.

There is a lot to love about this game. Each round (apart from the first where the order is selected at random) the players bid in a blind auction for the right to choose where they want to go in the turn order. You may actually want to be last guaranteed! In our game I was the highest bidder and first most rounds. I was using the market to keep topping up my cash each round to power this. After the order has been sorted, players form first to last get to choose an auction card from an auction row. These cards give you extra chillies dependent on what is depicted on the card. So one card may give you a black chilli, while another may give you a yellow, green and blue.

I love the auction mechanic for deciding turn order. Whether it's a blind auction like this or the one in Five Tribes. So much is involved in that bid you make. How important is it you go first? What is the least I can spend to make sure I get the position I want? Etc.

I loved the fact that the last (fulfilment) and first (planting) stage of a round went in the order first to last. Then in the middle, harvesting the order gets reversed. So it may be important that you go first harvesting to get that particular coloured chilli you need. Which means winning that blind auction and putting your marker last is an option.

Fulfilment is cool too. Being able to complete recipes for points, and/or buy from the farmers market to gain combinations of points, money and chillies. So I could trade two green chillies to get four points, three coins and a brown chilli. Plus I can sell chillies to get money. Of which the price is decided by the number of chillies of that colour being sold that have been planted divided by two.

When planting chillies you can also score points by planting a chilli that matches one of the trophy tokens (which vary in value). So there are lots of scoring opportunities through out the game.

You also get three bonus tokens that give you extra abilities, like planting an extra chilli, or moving one ,pore space and changing direction. However if you don't use them they are worth extra points at the end of the game. This is very similar to the bonus abilities in Seasons.

How many recipes, chillies, money etc you have is all hidden information. And there is a player screen provided for each player for them to hide their bits behind. So you are having to remember who is going for what.

The wooden chilli tokens are awesome. I would like to have seen some bigger size coins. They are on the small side. Plus the player screens could be larger. Having holes in the game board the shape of the chilli tokens to hold them in place really works.

Overall I love this game a lot. Like the theme this game is hot! Definitely going on the wish list.

We followed up Scoville with intrigue and political manoverings by playing Council of Verona.

For such a “simple” game, this is really good. It has a mini card draft where you are drafting cards to help you to hopefully achieve the agenda of a character on the cards. Not all characters have agendas some have abilities that allow you to switch cards around, or tokens.

The game plays quickly, which is lucky because it took one play through for everyone to get the game.

It's a shame this game and it's expansions are at best a pain to get in the UK. And describing it as a pain is an understatement. I think this would be far far more popular if it was easier to get. It's quick to play, has a surprising bit of depth to it. Plus if you are teaching Romeo and Juliet (the world it is set in) this would make a great game for students to play.

The evening ended up with Love Letter The Hobbit (nope not going to use the full name it's too long winded, mind you it would be shorter than this little aside) and everyone type casting me as a hobbit or dwarf!

Every time the others played a Smaug, “Darren, are your Bilbo?” Or “Darren, are you Thorin?” Or “Darren, are you Killi or Filli?” Not “Darren, are you Legolas?” Or some other non vertically challenged race/person.

Nope little digs at my height, beard and receding hair line where the order of the day.

The game of hate on Darren, ended in a draw between myself and Gavin, as time had ran out.

Another great evening of gaming.


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